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European Association for Public Administration Accreditation

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Public Sector Education and Training in Europe- the last TransEuropean Dialogue in Potsdam

 
 
Period: February 6-8, 2013
Venue: University of Potsdam Germany
 

EGPA and NISPAcee together organize annually a "Trans European Dialogue” (TED) under a specific topic to facilitate and intensify the exchange of views and experiences among Public Administration scholars in Europe. The last TED was the sixth of the series and took place at 6-8 February 2013 at the University of Potsdam (Germany). It dealt with the issue "Education and Training: Preparing for the Future of the Public Sector in Europe”. In line with the format of the TED, about 40 participants from 16 different countries (7 from the NISPAcee-sphere) met in this event and discussed very intensively about educational issues in the field of Public Administration. The "dialogue”-concept of the TED worked well again: most of the participants made rather short comments and contributed to a lively debate. The submission of full papers was rather the exception.

 

The program of this TED was structured into 6 sessions after a short opening ceremony where amongst others Mirko Vintar as NISPAcee-president and Günther Wursteras president of the German Federal Academy of Public Administration made their opening statements. The sessions dealt with the following broad issues:

  • PA-education in a continental European legalistic setting
  • Core areas of teaching PA across Europe
  • Experiences with postgraduate programs: MPAs and its "competitors” in Europe
  • New didactical approaches and experiences
  • Quality assurance and accreditation in PA
  • Wrap-up and strategic reflections: Is the field of PA education prepared for the future of the public sector in Europe?

The strong legalistic legacies of some continental European countries and their educational systems (e.g. Germany but also some Central and Eastern European countries) were critically discussed. An update of the contents of academic degree programs in Europe showed that the change in the last decade was rather modest. Still the diversity of teaching contents and styles is high throughout Europe, although some convergence can be observed. However, teaching is still the stepchild in our community – research is perceived as being much more relevant for academic careers. Another issue was the tension between national bureaucratic and international peer-based accreditation. Most participants favoured international comparative accreditation and criticized quite heavily the formality of governmental certifications only focusing on probity.

 

Generally, participants were positive about this TED. They emphasized the intensive opportunities to meet friends and colleagues, to exchange experiences and to discuss new approaches of teaching. And they also appreciated the friendly and open atmosphere of this dialogue forum.

 

One of the next NISPAcee-Journals will report about main results of this TED. It will offer a choice of papers and comments from the conference.